SEMA eNews Vol. 17, No. 45, November 6, 2014

Legendary Drivers Share Iconic Moments From 50 Years of NHRA Finals

  NHRA Breakfast
The NHRA Breakfast brought together some of the most popular drivers in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, including John Force (right), Antron Brown (left), Tony Schumacher (second left) and Gary Scelzi (second right). The panel was moderated by longtime NHRA announcer Bob Frey (center).
   

By SEMA Editors

The annual NHRA Breakfast held Wednesday morning continued the tradition of showcasing NHRA legendary drivers, team owners and other personalities within the sport. This year’s event, which drew a capacity audience, celebrated 50 years of the NHRA Finals.

This year the NHRA brought together some of the most popular drivers in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, including John Force, Antron Brown, Tony Schumacher and Gary Scelzi. The panel was moderated by longtime NHRA announcer Bob Frey. The drivers discussed many of the iconic moments through 50 years of the NHRA Finals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. Following the NHRA Breakfast, all of the special panel guests adjourned to the NHRA Booth #22329 and signed autographs.

Force is an eight-time winner of the NHRA Finals in Funny Car, the most for a driver in any pro category. Perhaps his greatest triumph at the event came in 2010, when he rallied to overcome a 38-point deficit and steal the championship away in the season’s closing moments from rival Matt Hagan by winning the race in spectacular fashion.

Schumacher has won the race four times in Top Fuel at the controls of his U.S. Army dragster, and famously won the 2006 world championship title in the race’s final moments by winning the race and setting a national E.T. record in the final round. It is referred to as “The Run” by drag-racing historians and is one of the most iconic moments in the history of the sport. The next season Schumacher worked his magic at the event one more time, and denied Hot Rod Fuller a championship when Fuller lost early and Schumacher went on to win the race.

Brown has won the NHRA Finals in both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle, and in 2012 he clinched his historic first Top Fuel world championship title at the event when Schumacher failed to deliver another one of his miracle comebacks.

Another driver who achieved success in multiple categories at the Finals, Scelzi, won the race in Top Fuel and has clinched world championships in both Top Fuel and Funny Car at the season-ending event. Scelzi put a bow on his 2000 world championship title in Top Fuel by winning the Finals that season, and then secured his 2005 Funny Car crown in memorable fashion at the famed race by holding off Force and Ron Capps during eliminations on the season’s final day.

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